Questions Re. Structure and Jumping - Page 1

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by Sunsilver on 12 January 2015 - 04:01

Okay, over in the Decline of the GSD thread, Fred Lanting was quoted as saying this about GSD angulation and jumping

Whether herding livestock, doing police work, performing obedience exercises, or pulling loads, the working dog needs a well-angled shoulder/upper arm assembly. Let’s consider this synonymous with good layback of both bones, for convenience’s sake. A “straight” (more vertical) foreassembly is somewhat like a car without springs. Imagine a dog with poor front angulation hitting the ground with its forelimbs after climbing over a wall in pursuit of an errant lamb or thief. The hard shock will have a detrimental effect before long.

A dog with better angles (yet strong ligaments in pasterns, elbows, and shoulders) can spread that shock over an imperceptibly longer period of time, during which the muscles slow the impact while the bones go through their “folding up” action relative to each other, then release that stored energy by straightening out again (bouncing back). Trotting creates very nearly the same sort of shock that jumping does, only far less violent.

A successful parachutist survives because he takes only a tiny fraction of a second longer to hit the ground than someone whose chute didn’t open. A good boxer “rolls with the punches”, while the guy who holds his head still when the other guy’s fist approaches finds himself waking up some time later. The baseball player relies on padding and moving his hand back to slow the speed of the ball as it makes contact with his glove. The differences in time intervals in each illustration are truly minute, but they can mean the difference between ease and pain, or life and death. Likewise the differences in layback from dog to dog may be small, but a tiny difference can mean smoother action, greater ability to hit the ground effortlessly whether jumping or trotting, and a longer useful working life. The galloping breeds minimize that shock by increasing the horizontal-to-vertical motion ratio. My show champion, lure-coursing Whippet was undefeated after he learned to run “flat” instead of “up and down”. The trotter breeds have a little more need for more acute angles in the foreassembly.

So, if this is the case, why is the malinois capable of tremendous feats of agliity and jumping, when its shoulder and rear angles are so very upright?


The GSDs of the past could do similar feats. The scaling wall was part of the obedience routine for a schutzhund degree, and I have seen old pictures like this:

Of course, these early dogs also had much less angulation than today's dogs, and were much more similar to the malinois in structure, with a shorter back in relation to their height.

So, why can't our modern dogs do this sort of thing, if angulation is supposed to improve the ability to jump from heights? 

The increased weight and size of the modern dogs is definitely a factor, but what else do you think prevents the GSD from having this sort of agility?

Ibrahim, I'd especially like to hear your thoughts, as you have a good knowledge of the mechanics of motion.

by bsp4321 on 12 January 2015 - 04:01

why do you say modern german shepherds can't jump?


by Sunsilver on 12 January 2015 - 04:01

For those of you not familiar with malinois structure:


by Sunsilver on 12 January 2015 - 04:01

Well, that dog certainly can, but some of the showlines in my club have a heck of a time making it over the A-frame and window jump. Watch the video I posted. I have yet to see a modern dog who can do what those mals are doing!

And why do you think they removed the scaling wall from the schutzhund obedience routine? Too many dogs were having trouble with it, that's why!

by Ibrahim on 12 January 2015 - 09:01

I will comment when I come back from work, till then enjoy

by Gustav on 12 January 2015 - 13:01

At the end of day, theory must reflect substantial testing and application to be credible.....I have seen and worked with this breed for a very,very long time. I admit I don't know the theory part( wink wink), but I certainly know the applied part in terms successful structure and jumping. When I see, theoretical creations perform better than what's been tried and true....then I will convert.

by Ibrahim on 12 January 2015 - 13:01

I am writing from my mobile, maybe I will be obliged to split my comment into several posts. Practical experience is credible and appreciated always. Science is also appreciated and credible, 

by Ibrahim on 12 January 2015 - 13:01

Science proved itself in all aspects of life and was the result of present development in all fields, anything contradictory to basic science is to be questioned, not the other way.

i would like first to impress on one important point before answering SS question, when we talk about correct structure of GSD, or use the word conformation

by Blitzen on 12 January 2015 - 13:01

Just a few observations on dogs I've owned and their jumping abilities, not all GSD's. IMO sometimes it depends on the personality of the dog itself. I've had similar dogs of the same large moderately angulated breed that could be contained with a 4 foot fence; they never jumped over it, never tried and I never encouraged them to do so. On the other hand, I've had dogs of that same breed and structure that could easily clear a 6 foot fence without a running start. They would simply stand at the end of the fence, look  up and spring over like a deer. I needed to put covers on their kennels. The common denominator with those dogs was that, as puppies, they loved to run and jump and began to scale their chainlink kennels almost from the time they were weaned. I had a photo of one doing it, I'll see if I can find it. An 8 week old 20 lb puppy climbing out of a 6 foot kennel always ended up to be one that needed a kennel with a cover.

I've only had 4 GSD's over the years. The first, a very big moderate dog, could jump over a 6 foot kennel with little effort. We learned about his talent when we boarded him for the first time when he was around 9 months old and he met us at our vehicle after having cleared a 6 foot plus kennel. After that he knew he could get over most any fence, so he was a problem dog. My 2nd GSD was very athletic and able to jump quite high to try to get birds out of trees and retrieve frisbees. My 3rd was a 10 year old with IPO3 and aglility titles. Of course I didn't encourage her to jump so I don't know what her ability was. My current GSD is a very big heavily angulated female  that can climb an A frame and jump 5+ feet over a bar at training class with a running start. I've never tried to learn if she could jump any higher. I'm not sure jumping is the best thing one can do with a large breed dog if it's just for sport. 

by Ibrahim on 12 January 2015 - 13:01

A wrong perception jumps to some minds that we are referring to modern VA structure which is over angulated in the rear , weak hocks, weak ligaments, as seen on many of those VAs of today. This is not correct ideal conformation as standard states and hopefully the SV is more aware of modern show GSD shortcomings, but that is another subject


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